Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The Poison Sausage Factory

The recently passed Central American Free Trade Act entailed a last-minute, rule-breakin', vote-buyin' mess, says US Rep. Ron Paul, R-Brazosport, who now has a Democratic opponent.
In this opinion piece posted on lewrockwell.com, Paul called the process "The Poison Sausage Factory."
Here's an excert about all the deal makin' that went into passing CAFTA:

What kind of deals? Well, one member of House leadership told reluctant legislators, “We've got to have you; you tell us what you want.” And tell they did. Lawmakers in textile producing states were bought off with promises of textile subsidies. Lawmakers in sugar-producing states were bought off with promises of special treatment in the 2007 farm bill. On and on it went, with promises of new bridges, parks, and whatever else it took to pass CAFTA.

Rest assured that you will pay dearly for these bribes used to buy votes. Every favor granted and every pet project funded comes on top of the pork-laden appropriations bills already passed in the House this year. These new goodies will be added to the final House-Senate versions passed later this year. One of my colleagues estimated that the price tag for buying the CAFTA vote will be at least $50 billion. That’s right, $50 billion to win a vote. Is this what you want from your representatives in office?

Perhaps the strangest vote buyoff occurred two days before the CAFTA vote. Lawmakers from hard-hit manufacturing districts steadfastly have opposed CAFTA, arguing that it would accelerate the outsourcing of jobs to nations with cheap labor. So House leaders scrambled to craft last-minute legislation to “get tough” on China, which is the real source of concern for most American manufacturers. A bill was drawn up, and a hasty vote cast, so lawmakers could explain that they traded a yes vote on CAFTA for action against China. One small problem presented itself, however: the China bill failed on the House floor! So House leaders went back to the drawing board, struck some and held a second vote on the same bill the next day. This time it passed, but its chances of surviving the Senate or a White House veto are virtually nil. So members from manufacturing districts literally sold their votes for nothing.


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